31 December 2013

Remembering my Dad, who passed away 9 years ago today...

Ya gotta LOVE the internet.

From The Bradford Era, 23 May 1952:

Johnsonburg Student to Get Degree of Bachelor of Arts

NORTHFIELD, Vt., May 22--Gilbert M. Gigliotti, son of Mr. and Mrs. Battista Gigliotti, 407 Cobb St., Johnsonburg, Pa., is a candidate for the degree of bachelor of arts, with a major in biology, at Norwich University's 133rd commencement to be held here Sunday, June 8, when the old military college will graduate more than 130 Seniors. Mr. Gigliotti will graduate with honors. Mr. Gigliotti. a 1946 graduate of Johnsonburg High School, where he was prominent in dramatics, debating, and yearbook work, has been a Dean's List student at Norwich. He served as president of the German Club and vice president of his social fraternity, Theta Chi. His other Norwich affiliations have included the French Club, the Newman Club, the Maroon Key, the Honorary Tank Platoon, the Pegasus Players, the Glee Club, and the Biology Club. He also did editorial work on both the student newspaper and the yearbook, and served as football manager. A distinguished military student, he reached the rank of major in the Cadet Corps, was awarded the Wheatley Medal, and won election.

24 December 2013

Howzabout some POSITIVE reinforcement?

On the way up to Northampton, Massachusetts, today, the electronic traffic signs on the highways in Connecticut read:


Now it struck me (okay, to be completely honest, mostly because I misread it at first), that perhaps a more positive approach to behavior modification might work better, and so it SHOULD read:

Imagine earning a nice v-neck or crew (perhaps one that says "A Toast to Drink-less Driving!"), if a driver gets stopped by the highway patrol and PASSES the sobriety test.  All of a sudden, it's no longer, "Oh, no, COPS!" but rather, "YES!!!! Papa needs a sweater!"
Why, yes, I will accept, if nominated, the position of Commissioner of the State of Connecticut Department of Public Safety.  Thanks for asking.

22 December 2013

A Saviour Comes Unto Thee (His Name: Tom Hanks)

With the release of Saving Mr. Banks, it struck me that this is the second "Saving" picture of Mr. Hanks, having made Saving Private Ryan in 1998.  Then I realized EVERY Tom Hanks movie is about the rescue of somebody/something.

Match the film with the Saving... title:

a. Saving Woody
b. Saving His Job (and Dignity)
c. Saving the Volleyball
d. Saving Jesus Again
e. Saving the Crying for Later
f. Saving Buzz, et alia
g. Saving the She-Fish
h. Saving NASA
i. Saving Jenny
j. Saving Jesus
k. Saving Identities
l. Saving Buzz
m. Saving His Youth (and Elizabeth Perkins)
n. Saving for College Tuitions
    (what else could explain his decision to do this dog of a movie?)
o. Saving Meg Ryan
p. Saving Meg Ryan II
q. Saving Meg Ryan III
r. Saving the Giant

1. Angels and Demons
2. Turner and Hooch
3. Philadelphia
4. Joe Versus the Volcano
5. The Green Mile
6. Apollo 13
7. Toy Story
8. Toy Story II
9. Toy Story III
10. Sleepless in Seattle
11. A League of Their Own
12. Splash
13. Big
14. You've Got Mail
15. Cast Away
16. The Da Vinci Code
17. Catch Me If You Can
18. Forrest Gump

15 December 2013

Fantasy Education League (University Edition)!

It's amazing the brilliance at which I can arrive on a Sunday morning with a snowy driveway out of the way.


Faculty draft a class of 25 students -- Freshmen through Seniors -- on "Acceptance Day."

They then track the students':

GPAs (weighted by course level and credits),
extracurricular activities,
off-campus jobs,

Class Rankings are determined at the end of each semester -- with the chance for faculty then to replace any graduating seniors.

Faculty, of course, cannot have any students in both their fantasy and real classes in any given semester...although real-life tutoring is perfectly acceptable.

Winner: Universities, of course, because retention rates would SKYROCKET!

11 December 2013

Who Let the Dogs Out (sorry, I couldn't help myself): A Review of "The Hound of the Baskervilles"

Photo: Rich Wagner
Sherlock Holmes has become big once again on the screen (big and small -- twice), and, whenever an icon like Holmes returns, it makes one ponder what aspect of the character the culture deems itself to be lacking.  I really have no idea in this case (given that neither the film nor television version resembles Doyle’s detective), but here’s hoping that it’s simply the recognition that intelligence is a good thing.  (Certainly way too few of our public and popular figures seem to possess it, or, if they do, they continue to do a very, very good job of hiding that fact.)

But Holmes, as played by the hilarious Rich Hollman, returns to Connecticut in a wonderful way this holiday season as the lead character in Playhouse on Park’s three-man production of The Hound of the Baskervilles by Steven Canney and John Nicholson.  This fast-paced, every-actor-plays-multiple-characters-in-a-ridiculously-daft-way show is the kind of production in which Playhouse on Park has excelled these past few years, e.g., The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and The Mystery of Irma Vep, and its Victorian mojo recalls their Around the World In 80 Days (which remains one of this critic’s favorite productions at POP).

Tom Ridgely returns as director, and, under his deft touch, Hollman, with Brennan Caldwell (various Baskervilles, et alia) and POP co-artistic director Sean Harris (Watson, et alia), get to have so much fun that the audience can’t help but to enjoy the ride.  Indeed, the three very talented actors clearly enjoy each other so much on stage that the improvised beginnings of the two acts are even more hilarious than the rest of the script (which, truth be told, drags a bit here and there…through no fault of the acting or direction).  Among the many, many comic highlights are Hollman’s portrayal of a horse swallowed by a swamp (twice), Caldwell’s fear of ghosts, and Harris’ Watson’s need to be loved.

The Playhouse’s technical team once again delivers a clean, well detailed, and nicely executed production.

At this time of year, audiences seek warmth and, well…for lack of a better term, joy.  Playhouse on Park’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, which runs through December 22, provides just that.  A touch of mystery, a lotta laughter, and not a little silliness…just the perfect holiday brew.

08 December 2013

In honor of Quintus Horatius Flaccus' birthday...

I suggest at some point today you:

a) break out some good Falernian wine (Odes I.27, II.3, II.11; Satires II.4;  Epistles I.18),

b) take a walk around town until some boorish individual latches on to you (Satires, I.9),

c) take a walk in the forest until some tree almost falls on you (Odes II.13),

d) visit your city cousin - if you're a country mouse (Satires 2.6),

e) paint a human head on a horse's neck (Ars Poetica),

f) take a nice long look at the snow on Mt. Soracte (Odes I.9),

g) remember your Pyrrha (Odes I.5),

h) build a  monument more lasting than bronze - i.e. write a really good book of poems (Odes 3.30);

or finally,

i) just seize the day (Odes I.11).